Giving Buildings A Heartbeat – IoT At Scale In Retail

Retail
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I will be giving a talk at this year’s EMEX event about the implementation of IoT into the retail sector. My talk will be based around a recent project Hark have just completed for a major UK retailer, saving them £0.5 million in energy costs in just 3 months.

Retailers have extremely high energy consumption, drawing mass amounts of energy through lighting, refrigerators and HVAC systems. The growing demand on the grid means energy prices will continue to rise, so to avoid hefty costs, retailers need a solution to reduce their energy consumption.  Retailers can utilise the latest IoT technology to improve their bottom line.

IoT software’s such as the Hark Platform can provide real-time energy information for individual assets, allowing facility managers to gain intelligent control of an entire building. This implementation need not only be in one store, but IoT is also elastically scalable and can be rolled out nationwide with no restriction to the number of assets that can be monitored.

Connectivity

IoT sensors can be connected to any assets such as lighting and HVAC systems, which are huge energy sources for many retailers. The asset then becomes a connected device that feeds invaluable data into the cloud.  

However, to get to this point a retailer must identify key areas of connectivity both at a sensor, asset and network level. Many retailers fear that it will be impossible to implement IoT in their legacy systems or if they can, fear it will be a costly integration. However, with Hark’s plug and play setup, sensors can be connected to the retailers existing assets and the platform can connect to any industry standard systems.

Before implementing IoT at scale nationwide, it is best to begin with a pilot store. A sample store allows businesses to identify pitfalls within their existing technology infrastructure. Once problem areas have been recognised, then testing can take place to perform different possible solutions, choosing the most appropriate solution for a mass rollout.

Visibility 

All of the connected devices then feed data into the cloud and this information is analysed to provide actionable data. All of this data is available to view in a user-friendly dashboard. The IoT implementation is also scalable in terms of the number of users that have access to the dashboard.

Therefore, key stakeholders must identify the different roles that require access to the data. For example, if there is a faulty asset in a warehouse that is using excessive amounts of energy, it is a problem for both the warehouse manager and the energy manager.

This valuable information provides insight into a store’s operations, identifying any areas for improvement. Retailers can begin making improvements to their stores such as fixing inefficient assets, allowing them to reduce energy consumption and drive value.

Intelligence

The final step to truly drive value is to turn the data into information that can be used to influence change. This intelligence layer is powered by machine learning and analyses asset information to make future predictions and detect anomalies that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, providing vital information on energy management and asset health. Quality data is integral to driving intelligent decision making.

If you would like to find out more about how the Hark Platform can improve connectivity, visibility and intelligence then make sure you attend my talk at the Energy Management Exhibition on Wednesday 27th November at 15.50 in Theatre 3.  If you would like to chat to the team about all things energy, we will be at stand B28.